This is Keeping Score, a series about games and their soundtracks. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.
Guacamelee! is a game that immediately appealed. It is a platformer of the type that has unfortunately been labeled “metroidvania“, referencing the Metroid and Castlevania series of games. I have tried to find a name for this sub-genre that is not dependent on knowledge of other games, opting for “exploration platformer” in the past, but that moniker that does not capture some very specific connotations that come with “metroidvania”: a freely explorable world in which players gradually find new abilities that can circumvent barriers that previously blocked off access to other areas. You know, like those Metroid and Castlevania games. Sigh.
I generally enjoy these types of games, but Guacamelee! stands out from the crowd. For starters, it’s about luchadores. For those who do not know, luchadores are Mexican professional wrestlers, famous for their colorful masks and acrobatic wrestling moves. Juan, the protagonist of Guacamelee!, must master the mystical moves of the luchador in order to stop undead tyrant Calaca from merging the world of the living and the world of the dead, with dire consequences for both. I am on board for this. There might even be some mariachi trumpets.